For everyone who’s ever said, “Why aren’t their more paranormal thrillers with kickass older women as heroines?” … and you know you’ve said that once or twice … Dead Before Dying is the book you have been waiting all this time for.
Maureen Keslyn is an FBI investigator, nearing sixty, recovering from a devastating attack in the last case she investigated. Maureen specializes in investigating paranormal phenomena, and that near-deadly attack was carried out by something … not quite human. Now, instead of a quiet recuperation, Maureen is off to a mysterious retirement home called Shadow Valley Manor at the request of a former colleague and lover. And while some of the Manor’s residents may be nearing death by natural means … there are forces at work that may want to push them over the edgea little ahead of their time.
Maureen is a smart, sarcastic, no-nonsense first-person narrator, an action heroine with creaky joints and a wound that hasn’t healed properly. She doesn’t trust anyone, and as the story unfolds we start to see that might be Maureen’s smartest quality. In the shadowy world of the Manor, with a cast of mysterious characters, it’s hard to tell who, if anyone, can be trusted.
A paranormal thriller is not a genre I’d normally pick up to read, but, as you know if you read this blog, I often read books outside of my usual reading comfort zone when the book is by someone I know. Kerry Schafer is a very old friend whose previous books, which fall closer to the “urban fantasy” genre, I’ve greatly enjoyed. So it was no hardship to follow her into slightly unusual territory, especially in the company of a heroine as engaging and funny as Maureen. As long as you can suspend your disbelief long enough to visit a world where FBI investigators may end up tangling with vampires, werewolves and ghosts, you will thoroughly enjoy Dead Before Dying.